By: Luk Kuth Dak
October 22, 2011 (SSNA) — Daniel Abushery Daniel and I were talking the other day. We have known each other from a very young age, me having seen this earth before him. It was there in Nasir that we first met. We attended the same primary school, and he was a freshman when I was a sophomore at Malakal Senior Secondary School, before I transferred to an Arabic school in Shendi to escape away from the brutality of the English language, which was introduced abruptly the moment we set foot in High School in 1977. From there, our friendship flourished and endured through the years.
His dad, Ustaz Daniel Nyang Toul, a distance cousin to my mother, was a selfless educator, who believed in educating children. He relentlessly toured our entire area luring parents who were otherwise unenthusiastic about education, to send their kids to school. I was one of the beneficiaries.
Unlike Daniel’s, my Daddy, the late Judge, Kuth Dak Mut, was an uneducated man. Nonetheless, he was armed with a Law Degree in common sense, judgment and wisdom. He sat on the bench as a judge for decades until he decided on his own terms to walk away when aging began to catch up with him. Yet, his consul was always sought for to the very last day of his life.
But more of that has anything to do with the title of my article except to give a flash back to the beginning of the friendship journey between Abushery and I. And to tell you a little bit about our fathers, hard working men who loved serving their communities.
So, Abushery and I had some conversation the other day about the current political hot topics. After all, we have an abundant in common. We’re both fluent in Arabic language. Besides, I was his biggest cheer-leader when he was playing soccer alongside the late captain/ chief, Gatkouth Pour-deed Boub. He was my biggest fan and admirer when I was anchoring the evening news at Juba Radio.
On that day, Daniel called me up to give me the telephone number to Dr. Riek Machar Teny, the Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, RSS, who’s here on a private matter.
When I rang up the number, a sleepy voice announced that the person on the receiving end was, in fact, the number two most powerful man in the RSS. “How are you Dr. Machar, I asked?” “I’m fine, and who are you, he inquired?” “I am Luk Kuth Dak; do you know me, I demanded?” “No, he said.” “Well, I’m a columnist, a former anchorman at Juba radio and a former press secretary to the former Upper Nile State’s governors: Daniel Koat Mathews (D.K.) and Col. Simon Manang, I assured him.” (the later is from his home state of Unity).
Still no luck!!
I reminded the VP as well that a few years ago, Kormach Gak Deng and me (then freshmen students at Morris Brown College, here in Atlanta, Georgia) visited with him in his hotel room in down town Atlanta when he came here at the helm of a high-ranking delegation from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM/A) for a peace conference hosted by the former US President, Jimmy Carter, at the Carter Presidential Center, between the SPLM and the government of Sudan. I also told him that on the second day, I returned to his hotel with gifts of books authored by one of my heroes, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, including the “I have a dream” speech.
Did he recall all those? Not a chance!
Now, if you think the VP’s memory lost ends here, think again! in more articles then one, I came to his defense when he was subjected to a barrage of some vicious attacks by some journalists form the Bor area over his ( admitted) responsibility on the tragic massacre in Bor in 1990.
Most recently, I also lauded him, in an article, for coming out clean, and by publicly taking responsibility for his actions against innocent civilians in Bor. (Those articles are all available in all of the major newspapers’ website).
But the VP didn’t read them!!
As Bill O’Reilly often says, I have no “beef” with the VP for not remembering me. After all, it’s been a quarter of a century since I left the anchor desk at the Juba Radio’s Arabic service and became a refugee in the US and later its citizen. But what I have a beef with, clearly, has to do with why is it that our politicians DO NOT give a darn about what (we) writers stay up all night long writing in order to draw their attention and to connect them with their constituents? So, the compelling is: where does the VP get his news from since its self evidence that he cares less about the media?
Rumor mongers? I bet.
Without a doubt, the news media can be a very important tool for direction and guidance for anyone in a public office. This’ so true in the case of the United States of America!!
By his own admission, the most powerful man, and perhaps the busiest one in the world, President Barrack Obama, begins his work’s day by going over all of the major newspapers and TV channels, Fox News included! He does so because the new media provide him with a mirror that reflects what his administration has done right, of where it fell short of. In another word, the President needs the media, not the other way around.
Hence, I am pretty sure that very many of you, except the VP, know that it’s only been a few weeks of my writing drought. That was simply because my day job at the Marriott International became a little bit demanding of my time. As a result, my weekly column didn’t appear. Other than that temporary suspension, I had in the past been able to write a weekly political viewpoint in all of the major newspapers in South Sudan. That’s where my heart is, and that’s what I enjoy doing the most.
Finally, the most profound question is, when was the last time Dr. Machar made his physical state of health public?
Evidently, the VP is obviously overweighed, and he spends thousands of hours on the computer playing games!!
Luk Kuth Dak is a former anchorman at Juba Radio. He can be reached at [email protected].